Just three months into her job, Ms Joyce Chiong has already witnessed behind-the-scenes processes that ensure smooth passenger, baggage and cargo handling at Changi Airport.

The 23-year-old is a deputy manager (Airport and Process Development – Passenger) in the aviation industry division at the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

As a CAAS scholarship recipient, she will be bonded to the company for six years and given exposure to different job functions in the organisation through job rotations.

Wide exposure

Says Ms Chiong: “I applied for a scholarship with an international angle. Aviation is a key sector with a crucial interface with the rest of the world and CAAS became a fitting choice for me to balance my interests in international relations and public policy. Coupled with my passion for the public service, I can contribute to the success of the industry.”

The scholarship allowed her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy at King’s College London. After graduating in July 2015, she went on to do a oneyear postgraduate course in East Asian Studies at Stanford University in the United States.

At Stanford, she studied alongside diplomats, soldiers, researchers and historians, who collectively created an intense, intellectually stimulating environment with their diverse experiences and passions.

As part of a module on US foreign policy, she wrote three policy memos on various current foreign policy issues and presented one of them to a panel of former US ambassadors to Asia. She also spoke at graduate conferences in other institutions such as Harvard University.

“This exposure helped me develop confidence, critical-thinking skills and sensitivity when approaching and discussing difficult issues with fellow researchers of different backgrounds,” she says.

On-the-job training

Her first on-the-job experience at CAAS was during an internship in the international relations division in 2013, where she helped in preparing for the Singapore Reception at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly and Council Elections.

“The internship opened my eyes to the hours of work put in to ensure the event was perfect for the international delegates,” she says.

During her second internship in 2015 with the Air Transport Division, she assisted in conducting background research and reviewing a part of Singapore’s air transport regulations.

After graduating last year, she started work full-time in August.

She finds it an exciting time to be in the aviation industry and assist in Changi Airport’s efforts to digitise, automate and transform processes. Her division looks at ways to enhance the productivity of airport operations and processes.

To keep up with changes in the industry, Ms Chiong has to stay abreast of the latest aviation and technological developments.

Since starting work, she has worked with leaders of aviation companies on productivity initiatives to improve processes in airfreight terminals, in-flight catering centres and apron.

Ms Chiong’s career development opportunities in this sector include being seconded to the Ministry of Transport or the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal.

“The commitment that CAAS invests in each officer is evident in the extensive developmental and training opportunities open to us, the dynamic and challenging projects that we are exposed to and the intentional manner in which new officers are introduced to the organisation’s values,” she says.